Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King

Gwendy's Button Box

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told... until now.There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs,...

Title:Gwendy's Button Box
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1587676109
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:175 pages

Gwendy's Button Box Reviews

  • Cody
    May 17, 2017

    Not going to review this one (at least, not yet) as I know several of my King-lovin' friends haven't had a chance to experience this novella. I don't want to risk spoiling anything!

    I will say this, however: this is certainly one of my favorite King stories and has placed an urgency on my finally reading some Chizmar. A relentless and scarily relevant vision of guilt and desire and the seduction of power,

    is a damn fine story. It's amazing just how much these two writers do w

    Not going to review this one (at least, not yet) as I know several of my King-lovin' friends haven't had a chance to experience this novella. I don't want to risk spoiling anything!

    I will say this, however: this is certainly one of my favorite King stories and has placed an urgency on my finally reading some Chizmar. A relentless and scarily relevant vision of guilt and desire and the seduction of power,

    is a damn fine story. It's amazing just how much these two writers do with such little space. This one is all killer, no filler.

    With releases like

    ,

    ,

    , and now this, it is clear Stephen King is on one of the hottest streaks of his career. Highly recommended.

    I will be rereading this when my special edition from Nocturnal Reader's Box arrives.

  • Carol
    May 19, 2017
  • Alondra
    Mar 19, 2017

    Pre-Read: YES!! The man in black.... oh, shit!

    Read: Such a lovely Novella.... muhahaha

    Post-Read: Excellent novella about being responsible for what essentially could be a "Pandora's Box." What would you do with the Red Button???

  • Matt
    May 26, 2017

    A wonderful collaboration between 'King of Horror' Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, who have been long-time friends but meshed their literary ideas into a single piece. This story is peppered with the New England flavour for which King is so well known and an innocent story that turns on a single item, something Chizmar surely influenced after being handed control of the story. Gwendy Peterson is an energetic girl who seeks to change herself before heading into middle school, where the teasing

    A wonderful collaboration between 'King of Horror' Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, who have been long-time friends but meshed their literary ideas into a single piece. This story is peppered with the New England flavour for which King is so well known and an innocent story that turns on a single item, something Chizmar surely influenced after being handed control of the story. Gwendy Peterson is an energetic girl who seeks to change herself before heading into middle school, where the teasing she has undergone will only get worse. When a mysterious man, Richard Farris, engages her in conversation, Gwendy soon realises that this is not a man who seeks to do her any harm. Rather, he has a special gift for her, a mahogany box affixed with eight buttons, their convex surfaces and varied colours quite alluring. Farris explains the importance of each button, warning her away from pressing the red, unless she is sure of what she wants, as it packs quite the punch. With that, Farris is gone and Gwendy is left to fend for herself. She hides the box from everyone else, pulling it out only to feed off the delectable sweets that are compartmentalised along one side. As the story progresses and Gwendy ages, she becomes tempted by the buttons, or at least the red one, and seeks to experiment. The result is anything but peaceful, but Gwendy knew that was a distinct possibility. With events around her playing out, Gwendy is left to wonder, could she be solely responsible? An interesting novella that pulls the reader in from the start and posits some interesting theories. A wonderfully entertaining read for any who enjoy some of the less macabre King work with this new spin that Chizmar brings to the writing process.

    I have long been a King fan and can only hope that there will be more stories like this. King and Chizmar took on a seemingly innocent plot and allowed it to evolve and take shape, to the point that the reader is left to wonder just who Gwendy Peterson might be. She has moments of teenage naïveté that are contrasted nicely with some darker thoughts, especially when she knowingly uses the 'red button'. However, there is little attempt by the authors to turn her into anything sinister. The same goes for Richard Farris, who balances precariously on the fence from being that creepy 'man in the shadows' to an innocent stranger who seeks to offer up something interesting, akin to the magic beans that Jack received for his cow. King and Chizmar take the story from there and allow Gwendy to apparently control her destiny, while also placing much burden at her feet. Did her pressing the button lead to various newsworthy calamities? Without going too far off the beaten path, King and Chizmar force the reader to wrestle with destiny and the influence of choices on the larger scale. Call it The Butterfly Effect through the eyes of a teenage girl. A wonderful story that packs a punch and offers up much entertainment, one can only hope that King has more of these ideas rumbling around and that Chizmar is on hand to help spin them, in the years to come.

    Kudos, Messrs. King and Chizmar for this wonderful novella. I am impressed and the early hype is right; you two are a wonderful team!

    Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

  • Jason
    May 18, 2017

    Gwendy's Button Box was a fun story, but I'm glad I only spent 9$ on the eBook and not $30 for the hardcover copy. First, it's short - novella short. Second, the overall story wasn't developed well enough to justify asking someone for $30 in exchange for it.

    The first half of the story is good. It's quick paced with its snappy little chapters. Gwendy herself is fine as a character, and the premise of the story is kind of interesting. But it ultimately falls flat. And frankly, I have no idea what

    Gwendy's Button Box was a fun story, but I'm glad I only spent 9$ on the eBook and not $30 for the hardcover copy. First, it's short - novella short. Second, the overall story wasn't developed well enough to justify asking someone for $30 in exchange for it.

    The first half of the story is good. It's quick paced with its snappy little chapters. Gwendy herself is fine as a character, and the premise of the story is kind of interesting. But it ultimately falls flat. And frankly, I have no idea what the hell they were trying to accomplish with the ending (the only thing I can guess is that there might be a sequel that tells us just what the hell all those buttons were actually for...?). In many way, King should have just written this himself and fleshed the story out into an actual novel. There is enough to work with, and it would have had more impact.

    There are definitely metaphors all over the pages in this book, especially relevant with the political unrest we're seeing globally. But the story lacked punch. The gaps were too large and I felt like it was missing substance - it was like eating a pizza with no toppings, only the dough. The foundation was there for something amazing, but it turned out bland.

    Ultimately, I was somewhat entertained. It was so-so. Gwendy's Button Box was a novel trying to be a novella. The thing I'm most happy to take away after reading this: the $20 extra bucks I didn't spend on the hardcover.

  • Matthew
    Jun 23, 2017

    King is back! . . . and he brought a friend . . .

    A very nice novella indeed! A story of choices and mystery. Questions about what a person might do with almost God-like power. Would you choose to be merciful or would you let your inner demons make you the ultimate destroyer?

    Whatever you decide, if you like a good thriller (and, perhaps in this case, don't have a lot of time to dedicate to a big book), I suggest you choose Gwendy's Button Box for a good dose of "what-ifs".

    Side note: the version I

    King is back! . . . and he brought a friend . . .

    A very nice novella indeed! A story of choices and mystery. Questions about what a person might do with almost God-like power. Would you choose to be merciful or would you let your inner demons make you the ultimate destroyer?

    Whatever you decide, if you like a good thriller (and, perhaps in this case, don't have a lot of time to dedicate to a big book), I suggest you choose Gwendy's Button Box for a good dose of "what-ifs".

    Side note: the version I read includes an additional short story called "The Music Room". A minor anecdote, really. Not much too it and not really worth hunting down unless you are a King completist.

  • Alejandro
    May 24, 2017

    Gwendy Peterson is a normal teenager in the (not-so normal) Castle Rock town, she is looking to lose some weight (mainly due the meanness of fellow schoolmates), and to do that she has been running on the “Suicide Stairs”, one of the colorful places in the town, until one day, when she reached the high point of the stairs, she meets a strange man with a black hat which knows too much about Gwendy’s personal life and he gives her a gift, a powerful and enig

    Gwendy Peterson is a normal teenager in the (not-so normal) Castle Rock town, she is looking to lose some weight (mainly due the meanness of fellow schoolmates), and to do that she has been running on the “Suicide Stairs”, one of the colorful places in the town, until one day, when she reached the high point of the stairs, she meets a strange man with a black hat which knows too much about Gwendy’s personal life and he gives her a gift, a powerful and enigmatic gift,…

    …a button box.

    So, Gwendy may lose personal weight but now she is gaining a responsability weight way beyond of her wildest dreams…

    …or nightmares.

    The button box has various buttons (duh!) and two levers (that I won’t spoil what they do, since it’s part of the fun and thrill of the tale), and Gwendy soon enough will realize that while of the features of the box seem not only harmless but even rewarding in different areas of her life, other features will be without a doubt a burden with tremendous repercussions.

    The box is power…

    …and there isn’t power without responsibility (ask Peter Parker if you don’t believe me!) and consequences.

    And something else about power is that even in the inaction, when you have power and you don't do something about it, there are consequences too.

    Trivial gifts are innocent, even pointless in a practical view, but…

    …powerful gifts are life-changing, for better or worse, you’ll never be the same after receive them…

    …and guarding them.

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    Jun 03, 2017

    It all begins with daily summer exercise on the cliffside stairs. Gwendy Peterson is 12 years old in 1974 and chubby. She will be going to middle school in the fall, and she does not want her nickname,

    It all begins with daily summer exercise on the cliffside stairs. Gwendy Peterson is 12 years old in 1974 and chubby. She will be going to middle school in the fall, and she does not want her nickname, Goodyear, tagging along with her from elementary school. At the top of the cliffside run sits a man on a bench in a black bowler hat, black jeans, black coat, and a white shirt. He has been there every day. She has ignored him. He has looked at her with an intensity that would make anyone uncomfortable, but especially a self conscious girl who thinks everyone is only looking at her flaws when they look at her.

    Of course, he could be a perv.

    There is always that.

    He is, after all, reading a book called

    , which frankly sounds like something a perv would read.

    Richard Farris (he does introduce himself) convinces her to have a harmless conversation with him. He has brought a gift that he wants to intrust to her. A button box, but not just any button box; one that dispenses chocolates with one lever and silver Morgan coins with the other. In exchange for the box, her only job is to keep it safe.

    It doesn’t take long for her to discover that the chocolates have some magical element that allows her to be good at...well...everything.

    The buttons themselves have power beyond anything she can conceive, but with that power comes great responsibility. Farris is cryptic in his explanations, which makes one wonder if even he knows the true power of all those buttons. The black button can not be pushed under any circumstances. The red button is a wild card. Each of the other buttons are tied to specific geographical regions. If the chocolates weren’t so mouth watering amazing, a smart girl like Gwendy would have excused herself and broke into a fast trot back to the life that the fates had already strung for her.

    Stephen King and Richard Chizmar combine forces to return readers to Castle Rock, Maine. Castle Rock has provided the setting for many King books over the years and is a home away from home for many of his dedicated fans. The book is a quick read. I finished it in an afternoon. The button box is a conundrum, and I had no problems lurking in the shadows, observing events, and waiting for that black bowler hat, that appeared in many of Gwendy’s most disturbing dreams, to show up again with, hopefully, some much needed insight. This book quickly went into a third printing so copies are moving as fast as Cemetery Dance can print them. A book that will have you pondering...what would I do?...can I resist the urge to use the power that is at my fingertips?...when do I intercede and when do I turn a blind eye?

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